2021 0514 COVID-19 Mask Update
Newlifeowatonna   -  

NewLife Community,

It is an exciting update to hear the CDC’s recent communication that vaccinated people can go without wearing masks in most indoor and all outdoor environments. This really indicates the biggest shift in a return to normalcy since the start of the pandemic. And of course, the expiration of the Executive Order mandating indoor mask wearing in Minnesota is a significant moment for all of us. Throughout this pandemic our leadership has sought to honor the guidelines and recommendations set by those who have been placed in authority over us. In the spirit of loving our neighbors as Christ has called us to, we have taken federal, state, and local recommendations seriously, and have prayerfully considered each decision we have made.

In light of this new guidance, our Directional Leadership Team came together today to make some important decisions that we believe reflect the reality of being a part of our community at this point in time: Beginning this Sunday, masks <b><i>will not</b></i> be required in any area of NewLife Community. Masks will still be available in the building and are welcome for anyone that would prefer to continue wearing them. Masks are <i>encouraged and welcome</i> for kids in LifeKids, especially those that are still attending public school for the remainder of the school year. As always, our weekly LifeKids content is available online at www.newlife.community/lifekids.
Students and leaders meeting on Wednesday nights for Switch are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask and physically distance as much as possible.

For many of us who are a part of NewLife Community, we have grown accustomed to mask wearing. We know that masks and vaccinations have become a politicized and disheartening point of public debate. We also know that it will take a while for many people to feel comfortable going without a mask. This is okay and we will not allow it to become a point of contention or division. We also know that there are a number of legitimate reasons that people will continue to wear masks. Because we will love first, we will not forget this truth.

As this has all happened very quickly, we will continue to seek God for wisdom and direction for our next steps. We know that all of this could feel overwhelming and disorienting as we have all prepared for this transition to likely happen differently. Our commitment as a church must and will be to choose unity over allowing this change to be another way to judge one another or to divide us.

<i>“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”</i> John 13:34-35

Hopeful for better days ahead and excited to see your smiles,
Pastor Joel and the NewLife Community Directional Leadership Team